Wake County Schools

Blog: Only one District 4 Wake school board candidate attends forum

Posted September 15, 2011

Wake County Public School System
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— The third in a series of five Wake County Board of Education candidate forums continued Thursday night at the Walnut Creek Wetland Center in Raleigh.

The forums are sponsored by WakeUp Wake and the League of Women Voters of Wake County.

Thursday's forum was for candidates from District 4, currently represented by Keith Sutton. Sutton has just one challenger, Venita Peyton. Peyton declined to attend the forum, saying it was unfair to hold such an event on a school night when parents have other responsibilities.

Although school board races in Wake County are technically non-partisan on the ballot, this race has become highly politicized after a Republican majority took majority control of the board in 2009. The Wake County Democratic and Republican parties are actively involved in endorsing, supporting and promoting candidates for this election, which will be held Tuesday, Oct. 11.

For more details on all school board candidates visit WRAL's school board elections page. 

Because Sutton was the only candidate to attend, the hosts turned it into a community forum instead, allowing audience members to ask questions and dictate the topics.

New Wake County School headquarters:

One person asked why the Wake County central offices were moved to a new leased building in Cary when the school system owns its former building on Wake Forest Road in Raleigh.

Sutton told the audience it was necessary to move to a new space because Wake County schools had outgrown the old building. Sutton also told the group that he regrets moving the offices to Cary and if he could do it again he would have voted to keep the central offices in Raleigh. Sutton assured the group he would look into ways to possibly offer better public transportation to the new site.

Suspension Rates:

Responding to another question, Sutton told the group some of the recent board changes to student discipline and suspension policies will help reduce the number of suspensions and help keep more students in school for less serious offenses.

The new Student Assignment Plan:

Another audience member asked about transportation issues under the newly proposed student assignment plan. Specifically he wanted to know how a student would get to school if his parents chose to send him to a school far from home. Sutton told the group the focus of the plan is on proximity, and most seem to want to pick schools closer to home. He also assured parents that group transportation will be provided for all students, but the final details of transportation are still being worked out.

Sutton was asked if there would be any major changes to the proposed student assignment plan by Superintendent Tony Tata and his task force if his party took majority control of the school board in October.

Sutton said he would not necessarily change the plan, but he would push to change the policy that drives it. In 2009, the current board majority voted to drop the diversity clause of the policy. Sutton says he would push to add that back if he could get the votes.

12 Comments

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  • Screw WrAl Sep 16, 2011

    "Peyton, we sat waitin'. But you didn't show..."

    Why did you wait, she told you she wasn't coming. As for Sutton, ask his constituents what he's done for them and the answer will be,

    ... crickets................. not one thing.

  • wakemom Sep 16, 2011

    "if it had been Mr. Sutton that didn't show it would be a totally different story."

    No it would not. wral loves what Sutton represents, per their owner, they wouldn't have spun it any other way. A vote for Sutton just means District 4 will have 4 more years of no representation. And more appearances by Billy.
    YouMakeItSoEasy

    we're speaking of the comments made here by the great members of GOLO!

  • Krimson Sep 16, 2011

    Peyton, Peyton, we sat waitin'. But you didn't show...

  • Screw WrAl Sep 16, 2011

    "if it had been Mr. Sutton that didn't show it would be a totally different story."

    No it would not. wral loves what Sutton represents, per their owner, they wouldn't have spun it any other way. A vote for Sutton just means District 4 will have 4 more years of no representation. And more appearances by Billy.

  • Ilovemyboys Sep 16, 2011

    I agree cjw6105... I wish we all could vote for all of them and perhaps we wouldn't have the board that currently exists. And yes, wakemom, if it had been Mr. Sutton that didn't show it would be a totally different story.

  • wakemom Sep 16, 2011

    i agree ilovemyboys. but of course this will stem down to dems vs repubs. never about the issues of the school system. she should have attended the event last night. had he not showed up there would be over 100 comments already posted to this story talking him and the black community. smh!

  • cjw6105 Sep 16, 2011

    Why bother to go if you don't live in this school district? You can't vote for these candidates. Make school board candidates to ALL Wake voters and you might see some interest in these meetings.

  • Ilovemyboys Sep 16, 2011

    "Peyton declined to attend the forum, saying it was unfair to hold such an event on a school night when parents have other responsibilities."
    News flash Ms. Peyton - as a parent I have 'other responsibilities' 7 days a week, not just on a school night. So when would you propose attending a forum? On the weekend? If you were serious about the election, you would have shown up and made it a priority. For the record, I'm not a voter in your district. However, if I were and showed up for the forum with you as a no-show for this particular excuse, you would not get my vote. At least Mr. Sutton had the courtesy to show up and take questions so as not to waste everyone's time. I really hope the voters in your district will think twice about voting for you.

  • wakemom Sep 16, 2011

    dont they always hold events during school nights with the board? smh

  • RALEIGHNATIVE25 Sep 16, 2011

    Wait......it is unfair to hold this forum on a school night? Last I checked public board meetings are on a school night. So Peyton does plan on attending any of those IF she wins?

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